We certainly have been from one extreme to the other but that shouldn’t be anything new for Okies.

Kaw, Keystone, Grand, Fort Gibson and Tenkiller lakes rose greatly due to record rains in Kansas, Missouri, as well as Oklahoma.

Just a few months ago, the Arkansas, Verdigris and Grand rivers in northeastern Oklahoma converged at Three Forks in Muskogee and the surrounded area suffered great flood damage.

In May and early June, I was unable to leave the area for 10 days. Groceries and pharmacy items arrived by boat for my family.

The worst were the losses suffered by residents of their homes, businesses and fields of crops.

As you may have seen on the news stations, there were two barges that broke loose from their moorings due to the heavy flooding.

Loaded with fertilizer, the barges collided with the Webbers Falls Lock and Dam.

Now it is time to retrieve the barges and, my, what a difference a couple of months can make.

Up river, they have shut the flow of water off to salvage the barges. It is a sight to behold.

We probably will never see this again in our lifetime. Many residents of this part of the state have driven down to the river to observe this happening.

I am wondering what long term effect it will have on the fisheries and their ecosystem. It also affects wildlife as well.

“A thorough inspection of the dam is being done. If there is not any damage that needs immediate repair, the Corps could begin bringing the water levels back up. It is expected to take about a week to refill the river to normal levels,” said Ken Doke, Muskogee County Commissioner.

In a recent Facebook post, the Corps office reminded the public that retrieving artifacts from public land is against the law.

It reads “Officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Tulsa District would like to remind everyone that it is against the law to remove artifacts from public lands.

Artifacts, also known as archaeological resources, on federal lands are protected resources. Digging for or picking up surface artifacts within an archaeological site is illegal.

Archaeological resources are material remains of past human life or activities. These resources can include arrowheads, pottery, bottles, beads, rocks utilized as tools, and any other objects made and used by people.

Laws covering removing artifacts from public lands include the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979, which protects any item of archaeological interest that is more than 100 years old, and Title 36 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, which deals with theft or destruction of public property.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Tulsa District is asking all visitors to help protect and preserve these irreplaceable resources, and to keep a watchful eye out for artifact hunters and report such illegal activities.

In addition, the Tulsa District has started utilizing a variety of resources for detection, including video surveillance, foot patrols, and law enforcement.

If you see someone illegally digging or picking up artifacts on Corps property, please contact the project office nearest to your location.

Project office contact information can be found on the Internet at www. swt.usace.army.mil.

Any information you can provide such as location of the activity, number and description of persons involved, car make or model, etc. can be helpful. However, we ask that you do not attempt to intervene or approach individuals participating in illegal activities.

Please contact the USACE project office in the area of concern.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Tulsa District thanks everyone for their cooperation in preserving our heritage and history and assisting in preserving our natural resources for future generations.”

For the river system this year, it seems to be feast or famine.

Reach John Kilgore at jkilgoreoutdoors@yahoo.com.

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